Navigating Our Way Through African Life

Have you ever had one of those weeks that felt like three?

IMG_2308This week seemed packed. Late Wednesday night, Seth drove our guest back to her home to stay until her fiance (a church member) can discuss the bride-price with her family, and they can get married. But before we could accomplish this task, we had to resolve tension from the future in-laws first.

The next day (Thursday), we decided to celebrate our first day as just-our-family-again by taking a picnic lunch to a nearby dam. We were halfway through our meal when an employee told us the dam was shut to visitors until further notice. 😦 Ita vita African. So we picked up our things and drove to another place where we hoped to rest out of the village for a bit. In the middle of a tree plantation at the back of our village lie the ruins of the Swiss mission, established around 1900. The place has overgrown quite a bit in the last ten years, so we couldn’t really relax there, but we enjoyed taking a short hike.

His old bike was ruined, so we got him a new one to enjoy on our picnic...which didn't happen. Oh well!

His old bike was ruined, so we got him a new one to enjoy on our picnic…which didn’t happen. Oh well!

Even with a picnic lunch on Thursday and several conversations interrupting our school days this week, we finished our lessons for the week (except for one science lesson). Most notably, Caleb finished All About Spelling’s Level 3!  I cannot praise AAS enough. It is a wonderful spelling program (except for one fatal flaw which will nix it for me after level 4: it’s too teacher-intensive. But really, it’s very helpful!) Level 3 was different for a few reasons:

  • it began working on homophonesIMG_2326
  • it had a “silent E” detective book to help children differentiate between the uses of silent E
  • it included “writing stations” where the child tried to apply spelling to their writing (a discipline that children often fail at–some children don’t apply their spelling knowledge to their writing until they’re in upper elementary, and Caleb definitely falls into this category of children)
  • and it had several lessons to help the child get a feel for how to pick between several optional spellings for the same sound. (For example, Caleb made a chart with 5 optional long A sounds, and put words underneath the appropriate headings.)

Caleb also began learning his 4x multiplication tables this week and has almost completed his multiplication facts. The kids pretended to play trumpets when we listened to “Trumpet Voluntary” by Clark in music appreciation. Actually, I should probably not be writing about music “appreciation” since I then made them associate that song with stress. The house was a wreck from toys, and I said I’d play the song again and wanted everything picked up by the end of it. Well, I had to play the song twice, and even then, the scrambling boys didn’t manage to get absolutely everything put away. Oops. They’ll probably always associate that final trumpet solo with panic, instead of beauty and majesty. :/

We made our first ever “notebooking page” in art after studying six pictures by Cimabue and Giotto, medieval artists; and I was so thrilled with how beautifully it turned out and what a good teaching tool it seemed to be.

In history we learned about Ferdinand and Isabella uniting Spain (we did not study the Inquisition, as that’s too hard for small children) and Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal. We also began studying about the medieval African kingdoms that have a known history. The boys played a checkers-type of game connected to the War of the Roses, in which 24 Lancastrian guards tried to capture two York princes in the “Tower of London.” After Seth comes home from youth group tonight, I asked him to help the boys make a homemade compass and find the North Star with it, like the Portuguese explorers.

Trying to keep my eyes open for the going-away picture.

Trying to keep my eyes open for the going-away picture.

Finding the North Star is not on my agenda for tonight. “Early to bed” is on the agenda for tonight! At the beginning of the week, Carson came down with a cold, which he inconsiderately shared with me. Between worrying about some plans for our guest and catching cold, I had two nights of insomnia this week; and now my head is paying for it!

What’s on your agenda for the weekend?

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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3 Responses to Navigating Our Way Through African Life

  1. A cooking class, lunch with my in-laws, dinner with friends, and an entire day of Sunday rest. Lots to look forward to!

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